Tag Archives: history

Exclusive Couture=Vogue Pattern Company

Vogue Designer Pattern

Vogue Designer Pattern

Vogue Patterns are known for their exclusive couture designs–the first pattern company to license and reproduce the designs of couture designers. While other pattern companies have tried to imitate Vogue with designer patterns, Vogue still epitomizes the finest in designer patterns.

Vogue Pattern Company is one of the oldest still surviving pattern companies. It began in 1899, when VOGUE magazine published a weekly pattern feature, purchased by mail order. By 1905 the publisher established a separate pattern department. In 1909 the company was purchased by Conde Nast who formed the Vogue Pattern Company in 1914. Department stores started selling the patterns in 1916. World War I had halted the production of French couture designs and Vogue featured American designers. In the 1920s, Vogue magazine covered designs from French designers like Coco Chanel and Jean Patou.

Vogue Couturier

Vogue Couturier

While Vogue Pattern Book  featured “couturier” patterns as early as 1937, these patterns were not exact reproductions of actual styles. Vogue Patterns made news in the fashion industry by announcing the availability of Paris Original Models in 1949, featuring leading French Couturiers Balmain, Schiaparelli, Lanvin and Jaques Fath. It was the first time originals from the Paris couture had been duplicated in pattern form. Vogue Patterns became the only pattern company licensed to produce designs from the world leading couturiers, establishing a precedent which continues today. Since that time Vogue has continued to produce highly desirable couture designs. Here’s a brief synopsis:

  • 1960s – Fashion’s trendsetters emulated the minimal elegance of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. The popularity of American designers led to the introduction in 1967 of Vogue’s “Americana” patterns, a collection of signature styles which include Oscar de la Renta, Teal Traina, and Chester Weinberg. Customer favorites include Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Anne Klein, Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass, and Oscar de la Renta.
  • mid-1970s  Italian and English designers, including the popular Bellville-Sassoon, were added. Styles by Yves Saint Laurent and Hubert de Givenchy are still among the company’s best sellers.
  • 1984 “Vogue Individualist” program created a showcase for emerging young designers whose international style appealed to a more fashion-forward customer. Many of these designers, including Issey Miyake, Isaac Mizrahi and Claude Montana, later joined the ranks of fashions established innovators.
  • 1990 – “Vogue Individualist” was replaced by “Vogue Attitudes”, a program which introduces today’s home sewers to the current generation of fashion talent. Designers like Anna Sui, Byron Lars and Isabel Toledo have a unique approach to addressing the needs of their specific customers, and are attuned to the demands of busy, clothes-conscious women of the 90s.
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Butterick-Oldest Pattern Company

Did you know that Butterick is the oldest pattern company?  Here’s the story straight from the company website.
“The year was 1863. Snowflakes drifted silently past the windowpane covering the hamlet of Sterling, Massachusetts in a blanket of white. Ellen Butterick brought out her sewing basket and spread out the contents on the big, round dining room table. From a piece of sky blue gingham, she was fashioning a dress for her baby son Howard. Carefully, she laid out her fabric, and using wax chalk, began drawing her design.

Later that evening, Ellen remarked to her husband, a tailor, how much easier it would be if she had a pattern to go by that was the same size as her son. There were patterns that people could use as a guide, but they came in one size. The sewer had to grade (enlarge or reduce) the pattern to the size that was needed. Ebenezer considered her idea: graded patterns. The idea of patterns coming in sizes was revolutionary. He experimented, creating heavy cardboard templates; it quickly became evident that the heavy cardboard patterns were not suitable for folding or shipping throughout the country. Ebenezer tried lighter papers and discovered that tissue paper was ideal to work with and much easier to package.

The first graded sewing patterns were cut and folded by members of the Butterick family and sold from their home in Sterling, Massachusetts. In no time at all, they needed extra space and expanded into an adjoining house. As business continued to grow, they moved into a larger house in Fitchburg, Massachusetts and in one year, set up a business at 192 Broadway in New York City.

In the beginning, Butterick specialized in men’s and boys’ clothing. Not until 1866, after three years of operation, did they begin to manufacture women’s dress patterns. They were, of course, enthusiastically received, and Butterick expanded his women’s line to include dresses, jackets and capes in 13 sizes, and skirts in five sizes. Over 130 years later, the company he  founded continues to lead the way in make-it-yourself fashions.”